Q: Can you talk about winning this game for Coach Koetter and the speculation around his job?
"Coach has been under a lot of pressure and this will vindicate him a little. More than anything we wanted to play for each other and play for our coach. He really helps us out. It's good for our coach; he's done a lot for us he gave a lot of us a chance and I hope our administration will make the right decision."
Q: How big is the win because it is over Arizona?
"Whether we're 0 and whatever or undefeated, beating U of A is the thing you always want to do. My true freshman year we were 8-2 going into this game and we lost. Even though we ended up 9-3, it didn't feel good the whole off-season. Beating your rival is the best thing that can happen all year."
Q: What was working so well for the team in the first quarter, when you went up 21-0?
"We were getting open, we were protecting well and I was able to get the ball (to the receivers). Our receivers made some great plays, the offensive line gave me some time…I did the easy part. I'm really proud of those guys stepping up. We've been so battered and injured all year. Those guys are getting it done is good for our team next year."
Q: Having to overcome adversity all season, does that help you in a game like this where you had the fumble and the interception in back-to-back possessions?
"That's been the story of the year. We've been so up and down, so inconsistent on offense…but we won 28-14 and that's all that matters."
Q: Can you talk about the play of your defense?
"Defense has been great all year. If our offense could just have helped them out more this year, I think we would have won a couple more games. Like I said, we had a lot of injuries and we're gonna get back next year and get back to where we should be."
Q: Did Koetter talk to you about the speculation around his job?
"Yeah he did but it doesn't matter what he said."
Q: Was this day an emotional one for you guys?
"It was a very emotional day, a lot of guys stood up for the last time, a lot of seniors talked to the team and a lot of guys thanked coach for the opportunity. I think we played with emotion the whole game, and the guys wanted to win for the team not anybody else."
Q: Looks like you were chatting it up with U of A students?
"They were chatting with me I just laughed at them, and after we got up 21-0 they didn't have much to say after that."
Q: Was that fourth down play (the TD to Jamaal Lewis) something you had in your game plan earlier in the season?
"It was actually put in this week. I was never supposed to throw it to Jamaal, but you have to make plays. I was supposed to throw it to Mike Jones or Zach Miller."
Q: Can you talk about the offensive line's play?
"We were four guys down. No B-Rodd, Carnahan or Berg. Those guys stepped up, and more importantly they believed in each other and I'm proud of those guys."
Q: How satisfying is this win for the defense, after all the talk about them (Arizona) coming off a three-game winning streak?
"Words can't really express how we're feeling right now on the defensive side. We held them to 30-some yards rushing and that's really where we hang our hat on. We had a great great all-out effort, especially with our starting front four and that rotation of eight (defensive linemen) that come in, they do a great job. They did a great job setting the momentum for us."
Q: It looks like all year, just like this game; you seem to play better in the second half…
"It's an opportunity at halftime to make corrections, to re-group and to re-focus. So that's really how we take advantage of halftime. We did a great job of it tonight."
Q: What were some of the specific keys for the defensive performance in the game?
"We made fewer penalties…just some small things like aligning in the slot when we played the nickel. Just minor corrections that were really fixable."
Q: When Arizona made that switch at quarterback was the goal to shut down the running game and make Austin beat you?
"Week in and week out we want to get to those quarterbacks. Coach Miller had a great scheme this week. We put in something new for this week, and we got to the quarterback."
Q: Can you talk about the job you did on their running back Chris Henry?
"He's a hard runner and he got out of my grasp a few times, which was frustrating for me. He runs hard, but we did a tremendous job stopping the run tonight."
Q: Was this just like any other rivalry game where the hits are harder and the trash talking is louder?
"It was awesome. The atmosphere was electric, and we had a lot of intensity."
Q: Do you think this game is a statement about the players wanting the coach to stay?
"I got pretty emotional in the pre-game about that. If it wasn't for this coaching staff, especially Coach Koetter, a lot of us wouldn't have this opportunity that we do have. For me specifically, Coach Koetter gave me my only Pac-10 chance. That's something that makes me so proud to be part of this program and what Arizona State offers."
Q: In this game it looks like the offense really opened up…
"We definitely wanted to take our shots downfield and not hold anything back. We came out with that mentality, we made some good plays…we didn't make all of them, but we got the win. We beat the Cats. Coming back and playing in the bowl is the icing on the cake."
Q: It's been a tough year for you personally. How rewarding is it for you to catch a TD pass in this win?
"After everything I've been through this year, to overcome all that, keep my head on straight, come back and catch that touchdown – it's awesome. No words can describe that."
Q: It seemed like Carpenter was looking for you a lot. Was that the game plan?
"Definitely. I told Rudy that this is my last game against the Wildcats. If you don't throw the ball to me we're gonna have some words and be fighting (laughs). Just joking…I've had great success against U of A in the past and getting me the ball was part of the game plan. I was able to attack some of their weaknesses and it all worked out."
Q: With all the speculation over Coach Koetter's job, how important was it to win this game?
"The tears in Coach Koetter's eyes, the players chant ‘keep Koetter' that says it all. I don't think he deservers what he had coming to him. He put a lot of effort and work into this program and he has great success out of it. I definitely think he deservers to stay here and keep the dynasty going. He has Rudy coming back for a couple more years and that's his quarterback for the future. I think he deservers to stay."
Q: With all the talk about how hot Arizona was, and you coming in as an underdog, how much more were you field up for this game?
"It's a rivalry game. We didn't need to talk it up and be fired up. We know the implications being that this was for a bowl game, the last game for the seniors. We came out on fire, scored 21 points and sealed it in the second half. This win feels great. To win on this field…I lost last time I played here. The feeling is so great; it's just crazy right now."
Q: Was this a win for Coach Koetter?
"Definitely. I'm a huge believer in Coach Koetter. I love him to death and I hope that he's still here after this year."
Q: It seems that Carpenter usually throws you the ball on third down…
"I try to build trust in practice, by making those plays in practice. Rudy gave me some good chances to make plays and I obviously pride myself in coming down with the ball every time."
Q: Now that this game is over, it's tome for you to think about the NFL…
"Now I can think about it. I'm going to enjoy this for a while and I'll think about that, and I'll make a decision after the bowl game."
Q: This was your first rivalry game. Was it everything you thought it would be?
"This game was just like everyone hyped it up to be. It was loud, it was fun. A lot of adversity going on with the fans. We love it when the crowd boos us. The hostile crowd makes you make big plays and play better. I love this atmosphere."
Q: You had to leave the game because of injury. How serious was it?
"I got injured in the game, but I came back. The win makes everything go away. I'll play in the bowl game."
Q; How heavy is this Ben Goo (Rivalry Game MVP) trophy?
"This thing is heavy but I'm never gonna let it go."
Post-Game Player Comments
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